JoAnn Verburg (b. 1950) received a BA in sociology from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MFA in Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
From 1977 to 1979, Verburg served as project manager for the Rephotographic Survey Project, traveling throughout the American West to replicate the same wilderness views made by 19th-century frontier photographers William Henry Jackson and Timothy O’Sullivan. While heading Polaroid’s Artist Support Program in the early 1980s, Verburg promoted technical innovation in the field by inviting such artists as Chuck Close, Andy Warhol, and Jim Dine to experiment with new 20 x 24 and 40 x 80 cameras.
Distinguished by its extraordinary sensitivity to the energy and sensuality of the natural world, Verburg’s work combines soft lighting, varied focus, and thoughtful composition to convey the beauty of its subject and setting. Often exhibited as large-format diptychs and triptychs, her evocative images of olive groves near her home in Spoleto, Italy, envelop the viewer in a serene and dreamlike atmosphere. For over 20 years Verburg has returned to the area with her husband, poet Jim Moore, capturing the fields and trees of the Italian countryside. Her photographs of Moore relaxing in this idyllic environment have been compared to Alfred Stieglitz’s portraits of Georgia O’Keefe and Harry Callahan’s pictures of his wife Eleanor. In addition to landscape, still life, and portrait photography, Verburg has also worked on various installations and public art projects in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Verburg has exhibited her work extensively in the United States and abroad. The solo show “Present on the Road to Bazzano” was held at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 2001, and she will be the subject of a mid career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2007. Her work has also been featured in a number of group exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, New York (1988, 1993); the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, N.Y. (2000); the Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (2005); and the George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y. (2006).
Verburg is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1986), as well as multiple artist fellowships from the Bush Foundation (1983, 1993) and the McKnight Foundation (1994, 2004). She was also awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Residency at the Bellagio Conference and Study Center, Bellagio, Italy (1998). She has held teaching positions at Yale University and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Verburg’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Examples of Verburg’s work have been published in Second View: The Rephotographic Survey Project (1984), Picturing Eden (2006) and Present Tense (2007).
Verburg lives and works in St. Paul, Minn., and Spoleto, Italy.